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McCollum's six-hitter leads Panthers to a split with S-M

Despite falling behind 12-1 in the second game, the Park Rapids baseball team almost completed a Mid-State Conference sweep at Staples-Motley Tuesday.

Tyler McCollum's six-hitter led the Panthers to a 4-1 win in the first game before Staples-Motley held on to earn a split with a 13-12 victory in the second game.

In the first game, McCollum allowed an unearned run in the first inning before shutting down the Cardinals the rest of the way for his first win of the season.

Singles by McCollum and Zach Eystad set up a two-run single by Sam Coborn in the third as the Panthers took a 3-1 lead. Coborn scored on Kyle Goplerud's RBI grounder.

Levi Erickson led off the fourth with a home run to conclude the scoring.

In the second game, the Cardinals scored twice in the first, four times in the second and six times in the third to claim an early lead.

Singles by Kyle Goplerud and Chris Goplerud, Cory Odland's two-run single and Drew Bade's RBI single sparked a four-run fourth inning before singles by Chris Goplerud and Odland, Erickson's RBI single, Jordan Eischens' two-run single and Coborn's RBI single produced four runs in the fifth as the Panthers trailed 13-9.

The Panthers mounted a rally in the seventh as a single by Eischens and a two-run double by Eystad closed the margin to 13-12. But Staples-Motley hung on for the win.

Chris Goplerud went 3 for 4 while Odland, Eischens and Bade had two hits each as Park Rapids belted out 13 hits in the game. Kyle Goplerud started and took the loss as the Panthers fell to 4-3 in the conference and 6-5 overall.